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Defensive Forwards Center Stage In NHL Playoffs

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DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 23: Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings heads up ice in front of Colin Wilson #33 of the Nashville Predators during the third period at Joe Louis Arena on February 23, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 4-0. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

DETROIT, MI – FEBRUARY 23: Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings heads up ice in front of Colin Wilson #33 of the Nashville Predators during the third period at Joe Louis Arena on February 23, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 4-0. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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JAY COHEN,AP Sports Writer


CHICAGO (AP)
— If you want to stop a Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews or Patrice Bergeron, it helps to have a Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews or Patrice Bergeron.

The three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the NHL’s best defensive forward are all in the playoffs, and it’s no coincidence. The league’s top teams count on their forwards to also pressure the opponent’s top scorers, not only for defensive purposes but to create chances on the other end.

Datsyuk of the Red Wings and Toews of the Blackhawks will be back on the ice when Chicago hosts Detroit in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series on Saturday. Bergeron will try to help the Bruins to a 2-0 lead against the New York Rangers when their series resumes on Sunday.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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